Madonna Blyth has spent 12 years with the Australian women's hockey team.
Madonna Blyth has spent 12 years with the Australian women's hockey team. TRACEY NEARMY

Hockeyroos captain says time is right to retire

HOCKEY: Hockeyroos captain Madonna Blyth has retired from international competition after 342 games for the national team. 

"After 12 years it's hard to walk away from my life as a Hockeyroo, but I believe physically and mentally it is the right time," the 30-year-old Blyth told media.

"To do what it takes to be a Hockeyroo takes a great amount of dedication and commitment and I feel as though I wouldn't be able to give what is required if I chose to play on."

Blyth, the most-capped Australian player, was captain of the Hockeyroos from 2009 until the Rio Olympics this year.

She made her Australian debut in 2004 and competed in three Olympics with consecutive fifth places in Beijing and London and sixth in Rio, scoring 70 goals for the Hockeyroos.

She also won Commonwealth Games gold medals in Melbourne (2006), New Delhi (2010) and Glasgow (2014).

"As an athlete, to be able to call yourself an Olympian is what you strive for but to be a three-time Olympian is something I will always be proud of," she said.

"One moment that stands out for me personally is scoring the winning shootout to secure gold for us at the Commonwealth Games in 2014."

Australia's Madonna Blyth pushes forward during a game in 2007.
Australia's Madonna Blyth pushes forward during a game in 2007. GRANT TREEBY

The Queenslander began playing hockey at the age of five thanks to the influence of her hockey playing mother.

Hockeyroos' interim head coach Jason Duff said Blyth had had a fantastic career.

"She definitely deserves to be the highest-capped Hockeyroos player," he said.

"You can't play for that long at an international level without having the qualities that Madonna has, which is a fierce determination to win and succeed, and to continually improve. 

"Her ability to read the play has been better than any player throughout the era that I've seen for Australia.

"She knows when to go, when to leave a player, when to meet a contest, when to release the ball and when to eliminate."



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